Gig Review: The Big Moon, Bar Sub (Monday 4th April)

Tabitha Buckley, Arts Editor

The Big Moon blew us away this month with a tremendous show which combined the intimate nature of a small-venue gig with the grand spectacle of their powerful rock-pop performance.

Rewind about half an hour. As we sat in Belfast’s Bar Sub, tensely wondering how the band would react to the small crowd, Fern Ford (drums) bounced right over to us and invited us to drag bar stools right up to the stage to “make the Virgin Kids uncomfortable”. We knew it was going to be okay.

Virgin Kids were everything you’d want from a support act and more. Reminiscent of a strange (but wholly satisfying) cross between Black Lips and Suede, their brilliantly messy style emerging straight out of frontman Asher Preston’s bedroom perfectly reaches the devil-may-care, sloppy-yet-sublime sound which many bands shoot for and almost as many miss entirely. These guys are definitely ones to watch.

The Big Moon by Gem Harris (2)
Source: Gem Harris

With the end of this set, The Big Moon themselves jumped onstage and took their turn to wow the audience. In every sense, these girls play with the comfortable presence and neat professionalism of a band who have played together for ten years, and have reached this point in only two years. While I have seen a number long-established bands be completely thrown off by a disappointing turnout, The Big Moon just got on with making sure that those that had turned up would have the greatest concert of their lives, even offering a prize for the best dancer in the crowd.

The band followed the usual gigging-protocol of playing a song, then introducing themselves, then launching into a better known track and the formula, as usual, worked perfectly. In this case, the coveted second-song was their recent, popular single, ‘The Road’. Opening the song with a long, loud and unusually rocky intro, the band allowed the crowd to question themselves (Did I miss a song? Why haven’t I heard this before?) before slipping into the calmer, more recogniseable intro which is found on recorded versions of this track.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this band’s on-stage personas is the affection that each member clearly has for the others, which clearly shines through. Bouncing around, into and off each other, the girls would be on their marks one second, and doing everything they could to obstruct one another the next. Their chemistry was infectious, and the unstoppable Virgin Kids in the front row mirrored their bouncing and embracing gleefully.

More memorable songs such as ‘Eureka Moment’ and single ‘Cupid’ (which scorches itself into your memory with the wonderful hook of “Sorry, I’m not your guy”) were played before the band finally announced one last chance to win the dancing competition.

At this point, The Big Moon switched things up a little by shelving their own songs, instead playing a soulful rendition of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’. Desperate to win the title of ‘Best Dancer’ and the grand prize (which turned out to be a bag of spring onion Tayto and a Kitkat), the crowd danced, Virgin Kids danced, and The Big Moon danced.

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